In This Moment – Black Widow (2014) Review



Artist In This Moment Album Black Widow Year Released: 17 November 2014
Label Atlantic Records Genre Electronic Metal | Industrial Metal | Alternative Metal

In This Moment released their fifth full-length album, Black Widow, on November 17, 2014. It’s their Atlantic Records debut, and fourth album with long-time producer Kevin Churko. The album continues on the mainstream, dubstep-infused, pop-ish trajectory set out on the previous album, 2012’s Blood; it’s a natural progression and it puts the band exactly where they need to be.

Sex Metal Barbie by In This Moment_(p) on Grooveshark

Some might say that In This Moment have completely abandoned their heavy metal roots with this progression, but have they? Was Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals any less metal because they reinvented themselves with a new sound and look? Is anything Rob Zombie has done since leaving White Zombie less metal because you can dance to it?

No, Black Widow isn’t for everyone, and certainly the band may have turned off some of their long-time followers, but this is really a great album. Is it the best from In This Moment? No, but it is modern, hard-hitting, driven, and a lot of fun… fun if you think rocking out and/or dancing to Marie Brink’s deeply personal and often painful lyrics is fun.

Lyrically Maria Brink is sending a powerful message. She addresses her critics on “Sex Metal Barbie,” the dual roles of women in “Big Bad Wolf,” her unwillingness to be the Madonna and the whore on “Dirty Pretty,” dramatic and bipolar relationships on “Sick Like Me,” being an independent woman not in need of a saviour on “The Fighter,” the sometimes obsessive nature of relationships on “Bones,” being true to oneself on “Natural Born Sinner,” emotional abuse on “Into Darkness,” and the struggles teens often face on “Out of Hell.” Indeed, it’s a laundry list of finding self-empowerment in the face of opposition and trauma.

These personal horrors are juxtaposed with actual movie horrors scattered throughout the album, such as the iconic camera flash sound effect from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on “The Infection,” the homage to retro movie posters on “Bloody Creature Poster Girl,” and the old-school documentary clip at the beginning of “Black Widow.” It’s a tactic that’s totally fitting, but one can’t help but to think of a Rob Zombie influence, which can be heard in other ways, such as the beats and vocal deliveries in “Big Bad Wolf,” “Dirty Pretty,” and elsewhere.

Speaking of influence, In This Moment hardly shied away from showing them on Black Widow. You might be deaf if you can’t hear Depeche Mode on “Sex Metal Barbie,” Die Antwoord on “Big Bad Wolf” and “Black Widow,” Otep on “Bones,” and, last but not least, Britney Spears on “Bloody Creature Poster Girl.”

Metal fans might take issue with the fact that there are very few guitar solos on this album, but for what it is, Chris Howorth made the necessary sacrifice. There are still plenty of crunch riffs to love. Also, Brink makes scarce use of her growls and screams and her clean vocals are distinctly more gruff than they used to be. One can only assume that years of abuse have taken their toll, and as a result she’s resorted to giving a more pop-centric vocal delivery. Still, as rough as her clean vocals are, they are every bit as emotive as ever.

If you’re an In This Moment fan, you’re going to love the fact that the band has carried on with the tradition of incorporating a duet on the album. This time it’s with Shinedown’s Brent Smith on “Sexual Hallucination.” And the requisite ballads are here as well; they might not be the band’s best, but they aren’t slouches either.

The Verdict:

If you like the new direction In This Moment started out on with Blood, then you’re going to enjoy Black Widow. This is a solid album that’s full of powerful energy, meaningful messages, catchy hooks… and you can dance to a lot of it.

More Articles Like This

Have Your Say Leave A Comment